Stanley Arrival

0130Z 23JAN22, anchored in Stanley Harbour, Falkland Islands.

Day 5, Drake Passage Northbound
10.5 hours: 62nm, 5.9kts avg SOG.
Passage Information: 676nm, 4d 10.5h (106.5hrs), 6.4kts avg SOG!!!, 14h on engine
Casualties: jib sheet, furling foil - section separated, genoa damage, watermaker (likely air block that wasn't clearing easily) also ripped bimini seams from wind in Yankee Harbour before departure. [The list of things needed to be fixed/maintained/completed includes more things, but these are the major issues of the passage.]

The last hours were very pleasant sailing! The skies were gray, visibility was a bit low and there was a bit of drizzle throughout the day. However the winds continued to calm and were largely 15kts +/- 5kts. The seas became calm. Dolphins frolicked around us while birds soared the skies. We shook out all the reefs and commented that we don't remember when we last sailed without any reefs in the main and a full genoa! Even when the wind seemed to by dying, the current kept us moving smoothly along.

We tried to make a pre-sunset arrival, but we knew it was pretty unlikely. We gave it a good go for a bit, but once all the reefs were out there wasn't much more to be done. So we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the day and the comfortable sailing, which was a nice change after 4 days of sailing fast and hard. As our speed dropped we avoided the initial temptation to turn on the engine.

After a nice spaghetti dinner and about an hour before sunset, the wind had moved aft of us; our speed had dropped under 4kts; the fleet of large squid fishing boats was heading out of Stanley for the first day of squid fishing season; and the visibility declined amidst a light drizzle. We decided it was time to wrap everything up and turn on the engine. We deliberately took in our sails and cleared the deck gear in the last of the daylight, then motored the last couple of hours up to Stanley. We did end up with a bit more wind and figured we could have easily sailed with the genoa only, but with the furling foil separated at the top, furling the sail in and out could cause more damage (or maybe we were just finished and not wanting to do night sailing coming into an unknown harbour with fishing boats moving about?).

We aren't big fans of night arrivals and try to avoid them, but dropping anchor and sleeping for the night seemed way better than another night on this passage. Stanley is well lit and the visibility came back up as the drizzle disappeared. Additionally everyone seemed to have AIS which makes things so much more straightforward! It's simple to tell which blob of lights is anchored and which is moving. For those that are moving, you can tell at a glance how you will pass and at what distance and exactly when.

We passed through the outer harbour (Port William) and breathed in the first scents of land. Such a delightful thing - the Falklands smells very pete-y - we suddenly had a desire for a dram of scotch! Then we lined up to pass through the narrows. The narrows is the small entry into the inner bay of Stanley Harbour. It has a nice leading line and is well lit with navigational marks, but any passage like that for the first time and at night is a bit nerve wracking. The Falklands is known for being very windy. While we had a fairly calm day, the wind certainly funneled through the narrows a bit raising a last bit of adrenaline for the passage and as a Falklands' welcome. We passed easily through and the winds in the inner bay were fine. We dropped anchor off of the Public Jetty, secured everything, had a small celebratory drink and fell into bed exhausted and content.

Supplement: As we haven't posted this in a timely manner, we will add about our first day in Stanley. We slept in on Wednesday (23 Feb) and made a nice big breakfast. We got the boat organized a bit and then called customs. We arranged to come into the Public Jetty and for our meeting with customs and immigration aboard Zephyros. From paperwork that we submitted, they declared us a clean vessel, as we arrived from Antarctica, had not been around anyone for the past 10+ days nor shown any COVID symptoms in those 10 days. This meant we didn't have to quarantine and would be allowed to come straight on to the Public Jetty.

Around 10:30 we moved the boat in and at 11:00 a friendly officer came to do all our check-in. There was a bit of paperwork, but it was easily completed in a helpful fashion and we were officially checked into a new country for the first time in 2.5 years! We had nearly forgotten about this process and part of cruising.

We sent the boys off for an explore around town. Jon set to work on the watermaker and Megan to doing dishes and getting the galley back into some order. The boys quickly returned with extremely excited reports of all the interesting items at the supermarket. We listened and then sent them away again.

Our local friend, Andrez stopped by to say hello. He has ideas on how to help build a replacement part for our steering and has a sailmaker's sewing machine! Not only are he and his wife Alison, super nice, they are a treasure trove of information and assistance. They are also sailors making passage preparations and we are planning to travel to St Helena together.

After that we went out for a walk to try to get some cash. We found a park and left the boys to play on it. It was a nice playground with a big zipline, a big climbing structure and an interesting spinning swing set up. Daxton expended some of his boundless energy. Ronan reluctantly stayed with him. We didn't quite manage to walk far enough to the gas station to get to the cash machine. We had left the map with the boys and had thought we could pay with a card for most things in town, so decided to just go to the supermarket and leave the ATM for another day.

We started shopping and were quickly overwhelmed. We don't have our hand truck to drag groceries across town anymore - it wasn't doing well and finally died after the last large shopping trip in Puerto Williams - so we had just taken a few bags and didn't plan to buy too much at the store. We tried to keep it reasonable while still getting a few treats and new things to try. (One should always try new canned meat type things before stocking up on them!!!) We also picked up a couple of meals. We tried to go down every aisle and see what all there was, but it was proving to be a bit too much for still tired brains. The boys had found us and continued to distract a very unfocused Megan. So, Jon moved into herding mode to try to drive us through and out of the store—stray cats are easier to direct and more agreeable.

We got back to the boat. The boys enjoyed some Ben & Jerry's ice cream for the first time in years. We put things away and chatted with Andrez and Alison who had stopped by to check on us. After a bit, they were on their way and we hatched a plan to try to go get some fish and chips as a celebratory meal. As we couldn't find the RCC recommended fish and chips place (maybe it closed), we went to the Victory Pub. Their kitchen was closed (the cook was sick) and we settled on some pints of beer for the parents. Then we found out they don't take credit cards and we don't have cash… hahaha. Easily solved with a tab that we promised to settle the next day. The boys were now melting fast - probably coming off of that sugar high. They were disappointed that there was no celebratory meal out and were about to sulk off to the boat. Jon took them by the fast food / hamburger place that we passed on the way to the pub. Good news, they have fish and chips! Bad news, they don't take credit cards. Hahaha!!!

So the boys sulked off to the boat and Jon returned to finish his pint with Megan. The parents enjoyed a few quiet minutes together and came up with a plan. Jon had made the very practical purchase of fresh lamb and frozen green beans at the supermarket so there was really no problem. We easily had a delicious meal available. Cash could be solved in the morning, and we would salvage the evening. About the time we were finishing the pints Daxton arrived, still rather grumpy. He didn't really like the plan and remained disappointed (and hangry). It seemed we were all still very tired from the passage and probably more than a little overwhelmed with all the new choices and things to see.

We got back to the boat, opened up chips and salsa and Jon set to cooking. We are now in the last half of a TV series (The Man in the High Castle) and we started the next episode. As the chips and salsa filled some of the need for food, the mood quickly raised a bit though Daxton remained grumpy about not really wanting lamb (lamb is his absolute favorite). Jon slid some lamb in front of him and he quickly devoured it, along with the green beans. He ate some more chops and then some more. In total he had 6 chops! Ronan had 4, the parents split the last 5 before they too disappeared. Obviously Daxton was hungry and Ronan's appetite seemed to be returning as he had some left over spaghetti as a pre-dinner meal while we were finishing those pints.

After dinner we were down to one more episode in the series, but saved it for another day. We were off to bed early as we were clearly all still tired from the passage and eventful day.

We are checked in and cleared for a 2 week stay. We're all still a bit landsick (the land feels like it is moving a bit) after all the movement on the boat. We do have a long list of things to do and expect - with the sail repair and steering part replacement especially - we may need closer to 3 weeks, but that should be possible to request, if required. There is a new energy aboard and it feels exciting to be back into real cruising and exploring mode!

Not sure when we will post to the blog again as we will be quite busy with repairs. We will certainly be back with at least a summary and then for our log entries on the passage to St Helena. Thank you for your support and for following us on this amazing journey!

1 comment:

  1. Rough passage but happy to see you've made it. Great SOG with all that sailing. Tough boat and tough crew.